PHX Surf expected to use less water than agriculture would on the land

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This rendering shows the two 5-acre surf lagoons at PHX Surf. [City of Maricopa]

Maricopa’s first true destination attraction is looking to make a big splash when it opens next year.

But will that splash impact Maricopa’s water supply? Jake Lenderking, a Senior Vice President at Global Water, said that while acres of water in surf pools, lazy rivers and water slides might seem like they would be huge water users, they actually are not.

“There is the greater Colorado River issue that we see in the paper all the time,” Lenderking said. “The city of Maricopa is actually separate from that issue. We do not derive water directly from the Colorado River. We have our own supplies in a designation of assured water supply that is about 23,000 acre-feet, of which we are using about 8,000 acre-feet today.”

Lenderking offered some perspective on how much the 71-acre surf park, at Loma Road and State Route 238, will use.

He said the park will use about 150 acre-feet of water per year, or about .006% of the city’s annual water allocation. He added that the park will use far less water than agriculture on the site would use, but more than single-family homes.

“Individual housing in and around Maricopa coming in at a little bit less than this project on an acre-for-acre use,” Lenderking said. “We have a lot of agriculture in the area and agriculture is using water at about four times the rate of a residential subdivision, which is actually about double what we are using at this project.”

The two primary attractions of the park will be a pair of five-acre surf lagoons. City officials hope those lagoons – and the waves they produce – will drive tourism traffic to Maricopa.

“The park will be about 70 acres of multi-use that has the potential to deliver an experience and put Maricopa on the map as a destination city for recreation,” said City Councilmember Rich Vitiello.

The project also promises plenty of land-based attractions. The multi-use aspects of the project include 31,000 square feet of retail space, surf academy, tiny-home village, RV park, restaurants and entertainment area that includes an amphitheater.

But water will be at the heart of the park and developers believe that their product will attract worldwide attention.

“We are bringing a world-class surf experience here to Maricopa,” said Erin LaGrassa, spokesperson for the developer. “It’s not your traditional wave park or wave pool you’d see at theme parks or water parks. It’s really a man-made wave that emulates the ocean. This is a world-class wave so we will be bringing some international surf competitions to the park, which are very exciting to watch whether you’re on the beach or on a man-made wave. It’s really about the entire family experience.”

LaGrassa acknowledges that not everyone is a world-class surfer, so there will be plenty family-oriented activities, as well.

“As a mom, I want to know if I want to surf, my little ones will still have something to do,” she said. “We are still working on our programming, our retail, our food and beverage, things for the little ones to do, things for the teenagers to do, people that don’t necessarily want to surf, so we’ll have something to do for everybody. We have some amazing ideas and some entertainment options that will be in our park. We are working all that programming out now.”

The park is tentatively scheduled to open in the summer of 2023.